A splash of colour

There are few things that draw your attention more than vibrant colours. I spent the last Saturday of February 2016 at the world renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town. I went with one goal in mind and the goal was achieved.

Kirstenbosch - Panoramic-1

This prestigious garden is not only beautiful to look at. The tranquillity of the morning, before the masses arrive, provides a charm of its own. I arrived as the gates opened and for a brief moment it felt as if I had the garden all to myself. My aim for the day was to spend the majority of my time in the Protea and Erica sections. The multi-coloured sunbirds were what I was after.

To my dismay, the proteas were not blooming in abundance. I forgot that most of them flower in spring. This did not set me back and I still kept a positive attitude. There were still a few flowering here and there.

I was grateful for the many benches placed throughout the garden. One forgets how hot the summer sun can be. Even at 8:00 in the morning. I took some cover in the shade. While resting I heard an all too familiar, high pitched tweeting. I knew for sure that this was a sunbird.

I was right. Across from where I was sitting, I saw some Double-collared Sunbirds flying by. They perched on top of the braches of a bush, proudly showing off their plumage.

To my delight, the tiny bird displayed something which I had never seen before. The plumage of the Double-collared Sunbird was in full display. What I had never seen before was the added yellow tufts of feathers on its shoulders. Apparently it is a display of dominance and/or breeding plumage. This got me really excited for what else I could possibly see.


It was interesting to see the development of the various sunbirds. Some were still very grey, where others were in magnificent display. Even the plain ones were a sight to see. Especially when feeding on the vibrant Erica flowers and Red Hot Pokers.

The highlight of the day still had not arrived. I was in search of the Orange Breasted Sunbird. I had not seen this extravagant bird in quite some time. I was certain that if I were to find it, it would be in the Erica section.

I positioned myself in front of the Ericas, comfortably leaning against a solid tree. This would be my shady spot for the next hour. Some sunbirds came by, but not the one I wanted.

Kirstenbosch-3I could feel the strain of sitting still for over an hour. I was considering moving along, but knew that I would miss what I had set out to see. Finally, I saw some movement in the bush. It was indeed an Orange Breasted Sunbird. It was exactly what I was hoping to find. Best of all I managed to capture the bird in all its glory.


I am really glad that I found what I was looking for. Even though these birds are strikingly beautiful with their metallic colours, there is so much more to be on the lookout for at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

2 Comments on “A splash of colour

  1. You capture the birds so clearly. Well done! I have always enjoyed visiting Kirstenbosch, but you are right: one needs to try and get there before the main crowds arrive.

    Liked by 1 person

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